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High performance light-based computers in the horizon

Researchers at Intel and the University of California, Santa Barbara have announced
the world's first Hybrid Silicon Laser
, or HSL. An HSL is a silicon-based laser emitting device. According to Intel, creating a laser emitting silicon chip is a breakthrough that will propel the world of computers into the light-based transmission era.

Called Indium Phosphide, the material contains properties that allow it to emit light when voltage is applied. Intel researchers were able to integrate Indium Phosphide into traditional silicon chip manufacturing techniques, thereby creating a silicon-Indium Phoshide hybrid chip -- one that could process traditional electrical signals and transmit laser light. The laser light generated by an HSL chip could be used to transmit data and thus power other silicon photonic devices said Intel.

“Silicon Photonics is a critical part of tera-Scale computing as we need the ability to move massive amounts of data on and off these very high performance chips" claimed Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner. Intel said that HSL could bring along terabit-capable transmission processors that are low cost and easy to produce. Computers would be a multitude more powerful than those we use today. The technology however, is still a number of years off.

Currently, silicon chips can detect light, route light and even modulate light said Intel, but the problem is getting silicon chips to produce light. Intel is taking Phoshide lasers commonly used in other industries and bringing along new types of applications. Voltage is first applied to the HSL. The Indium Phosphide element then produces light, which then enters a silicon waveguide to create continuous laser light. Using this technique, Intel also maintains a low cost production of HSL devices. According to Intel:

The hybrid silicon laser is a key enabler for silicon photonics, and will be integrated into silicon photonic chips that could enable the creation of optical “data pipes” carrying terabits of information. These terabit optical connections will be needed to meet the bandwidth and distance requirements of future servers and data centers powered by hundreds of processors.

The application potentials for HSL chips are truly exciting. The industry in general has been talking about laser or light based electronics for a number of years already. With the development from a company like Intel -- and hopefully others like AMD -- the industry is getting the right push it needs. With multi-core processors now the mainstream, computers will only get faster. HSL devices will drive the future of computing said Intel, and things are looking only brighter. Communications technology uses a fair number of laser electronics and as the technology is refined, desktop computer and notebooks will be using the technology in the next few years as the limits of traditional silicon is reached.

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So does this mean
By hellokeith on 9/18/2006 6:14:18 PM , Rating: 5
that if you took one of these laser silicon chip computers on a space craft, the faster you go the slower the computer is? (because of relativity) ;)

RE: So does this mean
By dnd728 on 9/18/2006 6:25:58 PM , Rating: 3
not 4 u

RE: So does this mean
By johnsonx on 9/19/2006 12:03:39 PM , Rating: 2
Why did that post get modded up? It makes no sense. Or am I just lacking a sense of humor (it sure doesn't seem funny)?

The whole point of relativity is that everything is relative to your frame of reference (or point of view if you like). So even if you could achieve relativistic speeds in a space craft, which you can't as of yet, the aparrent speed of everything on the craft would be the same from a point of view on the craft.

Second, relativity affects everything, not just light. Indded electricity and light are both just different forms of the same thing.

So from a frame of reference outside a spacecraft moving past at a relativistic speed (relativistic speed being a speed above about .5C where effects of relativity become obvious), then EVERYTHING on the craft would appear slower and elongated whether it be man, machine or light-based computer chip.

RE: So does this mean
By Tyler 86 on 9/19/2006 7:32:53 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, it makes no sense.

It's not relative to relativity, that would break reality.
It is relative to it's source and destination.

Yes, it would appear slower than it is, much to the percievers chagrin.

It would not truely slow down, at all - the entire craft would merely block, reflect, and refract more light... among other consequences - it's contents (provided some form of gravitational and relativisitic seperation from the outside, 'inertial dampeners') would be unaffected.

However, if affected by the pull of gravity, I presume you would hit a 'frame rate' of sorts, causing uncertain, destructive, or atleast hilarious, 'bendiness' as result...

Example; Am I'm talking out of my ass? Perhaps I went too fast...

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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